LWRS Program

LWRS Program

Reliability, Availability, Productivity, Component aging, Safety & Security of existing nuclear power plants


INL Tests Computer-based Procedure Research Project at Palo Verde

Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station hosted scientists from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) recently that were on site testing a pilot project for performing procedure tasks using a computer-based format.

“We had a great week with the staff from INL and made excellent progress on this round of testing of computer-based procedures and delivery through hand-held computers,” said Carlos Williams, IT client manager, Information Services. “This research is critical to achieving Palo Verde’s long-term vision for ‘Worker of the Future’”.

Leading up to this week’s visit, INL scientists have been working with Palo Verde on a project to develop computer-based procedures. Williams worked closely with INL Project Manager Johanna Oxstrand to coordinate the visit to Palo Verde.

Many individuals at Palo Verde were involved in the effort including:

  • Bob Ballard, instructor, Nuclear Training, reserved and made available the Electrical Training Lab in Building “E” used for the project. 
  • Regina Cunningham, senior advisor, Chemistry Technical Support, who is an active member of the computer-based procedures effort with INL, provided valuable insight on Palo Verde’s procedures and processes. 
  • Michael Grigsby, assistant plant manager, provided oversight and support for the project. 
  • Chris Kartes, planning advisor, Maintenance, and a member of the Craftsmanship Committee, helped recruit personnel to participate in the test project.

For several days, 13 test project participants performed a procedure task using the current paper-based process first and then performed the same procedure in a computer-based format.

What's Next

Researchers will examine the results from this pilot project and evaluate the advantages/disadvantages of the developed technologies with a focus on the human factors. Additionally, participants provided valuable feedback that the team will use to continue to refine and expand the functionality of the computerized procedures.

“This initial pilot is performing a relatively simple procedure section that will lead to more complex evolutions as the project matures,” said Bruce Gordon, IT client manager, Information Services. “The researchers from INL were very happy with the wealth of data collected while here on site that will help in the next steps of the project.”

The INL researchers will return to Palo Verde later this year as they incorporate lessons learned and begin testing more complex procedures. The team is working towards developing and providing a computer-based procedure implementation guideline that can be adopted by the industry.

About Procedures

The commercial nuclear energy industry conducts virtually all plant activities using standard or special procedures. The quality of procedures, refined by operating experience over decades, has been an important

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